5 ways to be an authentic leader

In 2020, authentic leadership is more important than ever before – people can smell bullsh*t a mile away and they’re adverse to it.

Employees and customers are gravitating towards companies and leaders with a clear sense of purpose and direction. So it’s time to stop whatever it is you’re doing right now! We’re going to explain exactly why you need to pay attention to authenticity for the future success of your business, and how you can be an authentic leader.

The concept of authentic leadership has huge benefits for business – it boosts organisational performance by 40%, improves reputation and social license and secures the long-term viability of your enterprise. Everyone wants all of this, right? Well, there’s more…

Employees are happier, more comfortable, and more productive when they feel like they know their leaders, and that their leaders have the best interests of all of their stakeholders at heart.

True authentic leadership is when leaders act as their true selves at work and they have a shared purpose with their organisation and its people. Authentic leaders allow themselves to connect with their employees and have the long-term goals of their organisation as a guiding principle.

‘Fake it until you make it’ works because you employ it for a short time, but at some point, you need to genuinely be who you are.

My top 5 ways to be an authentic leader in your business:

    • Know your strengths – If you know what you’re good at, you can work to hone them to be better at what comes naturally to you. For your weaknesses, you can strive to improve them and have someone back you up on that. For example, if you’re not a great negotiator, you can bring a team member who is great to your negotiation sessions, while working on your own skills. This doesn’t get you out of difficult conversations because you’re not good at them. No one likes it and you can’t use this as an excuse!
    • Be clear about who you are – Communicate your beliefs and what you stand for, let people opt in and out of your leadership as they inevitably will if there’s a clash in belief or style. People want to follow someone who they believe in.
    • Trust and loyalty are key – Authenticity builds trust and trust builds organisational and customer loyalty. Just like any relationship outside of the workplace, without trust and loyalty, you don’t have anything. So these are essential ingredients for workplace relationships and are important for authentic leadership.
    • Know your values – You can’t authentically be a leader if you don’t know what you stand for – if you know your values, you know the standards you will hold people to and you can back those standards with a clear why.

Are you looking to evolve your leadership skills and understand how to implement the concept of authentic leadership in your business?

We have assembled inspiring luminaries alongside Australia’s top CEOs and MDs to help you develop your leadership through authenticity, openness, and trust. Back for its fifth year on 17-20 March, the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 is not to be missed. Tickets are selling fast, get yours here.

How To Set SMART Goals For 2020

It’s that time of year again when we all evaluate every area of our lives and think about what we want to achieve in the year to come. From career to health, family life to finances, many people daydream about what they want to do and hope it will magically happen or come to them, but that’s very far from the truth.

The only way to make all your dreams for the year come true is to set SMART goals for 2020. Not just any goals, they need to be SMART. If you want something, you have to go out and chase it! You need to be clear on exactly what it is you want to achieve, be able to measure it, work out whether it’s achievable and realistic, and put a time frame on it.

You have to make a plan and make it happen. You only get out what you put in, and if your dreams were easy everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they?

So, the first step for working towards your goals for 2020 is to break down your dreams into goals. Start now, grab a pen and paper. Let’s write SMART goals together.

What are SMART goals?

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time framed

Start with a list of everything you want to achieve in the year, let your mind go wild!

Once you’ve workshopped some ideas, you can start with the first criteria – specific. Let’s take a goal that 98% of people want to do at the start of the year – ‘get healthy’. Having a goal to ‘get healthy’ is not specific. What does this mean? Is it weight loss, is it muscle tone, is it eating more vegetables?

Let’s assume it is weight loss. Specifically, how much? You have to put a number on it. Same for muscle tone, or even eating better. 10kgs? 20% more muscle? 5 healthy dinners a week?

From here, we take the next criteria – measurable – can you measure your goal? If it’s specific you should be able to measure it – any of the examples above can be measured and tracked. That’s what you want, something that makes it very clear to know whether you’ve achieved your goal or not.

Is it achievable? Did you say you want to lose 30kgs by March 31? Now, this probably isn’t achievable without drastically restricting your life or making massive changes and it’s tied to the next step, which is realistic. Given how you run your life now, considering all lifestyle factors and knowing we all only have 24 hours in a day, can you achieve what you have set out to do in the timeframe available?

And that’s how we arrive at the last criteria – time framed. You probably can lose 5kgs by March 31. That’s probably realistic and achievable, but not 30kg!

If you take all of your goals on your list from all areas of life and apply these criteria to it, you should come up with a few that you can commit to achieving. Or even one. One is better than none!

You should keep track of your efforts. It will be easier to stick to your goals if you can both see what you are doing and visibly recording the results. Seeing yourself get some small wins can be amazing for motivation! Tell someone about them – verbal commitment is hard to break, and we are social animals – social proof can help you stick to and achieve your goals.

If your goal is career orientated, say getting a promotion, setting and tracing your goals can help prove that you’re worth it. You can take your goal tracker into your next performance review. Metrics are hard to argue against, especially if they have proven results. They show initiative and commitment, what employer doesn’t want to see that?

Well there you have it, my top tips on how to set SMART goals for 2020. I wish you all the best with your goal setting and I hope you enjoy the process!

If you’d like to learn more about career goal setting, The Empowered Woman is the event for you! To be held in Sydney on March 26, you’ll learn how to break down your career goals into achievable steps and gain the tools to support your journey to the job from Australia leading businesswoman. Tickets for this one-day event will sell out quickly, so don’t miss out. Get your tickets today!

Best Advice I’ve Ever Been Given

Over the years of my career and personal life to date, I have heard many words of wisdom. From inspiring advice, raw and moving, interesting to whacky, and everything in between. There are two quotes in particular from two incredible Australian businesswomen leaders that has really stuck with me and I now live by, definitely the best advice I’ve ever been given.

“Your children aren’t comparing the amount of time you spend with them to other kids in the playground. Their normal is normal.” – Erica Berchtold, The Iconic

What does this mean to me? Well, as a mother of twins under the age of 5, this one really got me. At our Women in Leadership Summit (WILS) last year, Erica spoke a lot about creating your own normal, and this resonated with me in so many ways.

Stop comparing yourself to other people, create your own narrative and live life your way. I know it’s hard but try not to compare your parenting and the time you have with your children to other parents – you do you. You have to work full time to support your children, you need pay off your mortgage, you want to continue your successful career, whatever it is! Who cares what anyone else thinks.

Quit the guilt! The amount of time you spend with your children is what it is – they don’t know any better, their normal is normal.

Don’t get caught up in the ‘what ifs’ or ‘should haves’, just do what’s best for you and your family. Let’s face it, you’re the only person who has your best interests at heart.

“You have an obligation to other women to support and mentor them, but not just that, to recommend them to others that might help them up.” – Angela Mentis BNZ

What an inspirational lady. Honestly, she says it how it is. She’s right. As a woman in business, you absolutely have that obligation. You need to do your bit to support other women and offer mentorship to bring out the best in them. You need to show up, show your real self, and own it. Lead by example and offer wisdom.

There’s no such thing as having too many mentors. If you know someone who aligns with the values and vision of other female leaders you’re connected with, why not leverage your relationships? You never know, this female leader could relate to situations this individual may be facing, they could learn so much and put learning into action with the right support. A simple introduction could make a huge difference. By doing this, you could play a major part in their future leadership potential!

Now I would love to know, what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

If you want to learn what it takes to be a leader from Australia’s leading businesswomen, be inspired by personal stories of success and learn from intimate tales of failure – The Empowered Woman is the place to be. To be held in Sydney on 26 March 2020, the inaugural one-day event will feature keynote speakers including Sarah-Jane Clarke, Colleen Calander and Suzy Nicoletti to name a few. Book your tickets now.

Finding your purpose and how to nail it

A new decade brings reflection and new optimism for living authentically, making a real difference in this world, and discovering real purpose.

There’s something special about a new year (and especially a new decade) that inspires people to take action – all in the name of purpose, and I’m all for it, provided there is a solid action plan to make it happen and it’s sustainable, not a momentary burst of enthusiasm.

What many people don’t know is that your purpose is fundamentally linked with values – you can’t truly know your purpose unless you define your values. By knowing your values, you’ll know what makes you truly excited and fulfilled at the end of the day. It makes you prioritise what is ‘important’, rather than just what is ‘urgent’.

Your purpose may be as simple as living and belonging with people who share those values, or it could be driving those values into others or the world.

You may have varying levels of a whole bunch of values, but what are your top values? Think about it, what values drive you to be the best version of yourself and the best leader for your business? What values do you try to instil in your children, or your team? What values make you jump out of bed in the morning, ready to kick goals and take on a new challenge?

This is about you as a human being and what matters most to you. Don’t get me wrong, the process to work out your values does take some time and may not happen overnight, it’s not easy! But don’t worry, it’s totally worth it. Once you know your values, everything will make more sense, and you’ll be able to nail your purpose!

So how do you define your values? Over the years, I have created some really great exercises to define your values:

  • Get a list of value driven words (there are plenty if you Google!) and circle the ones that you think define you
  • Think about a great experience where your actions were great, and it made you really proud – why did it make you proud?
  • Next, think of an experience where the situation was terrible and you or the other person acted poorly – what would you have liked them to do, or what could you have done better?
  • Think about those two situations in relation to the list. If they’re important enough for you, the words that define what matters to you most should be clearer. Trust me, it’s hard to define to two, but try it!

If you already know what you’re about and can put those values into the context of what you do and how you do it, every action should be held against those values. Does this fit into what I value and believe, and is my action living up to that? It makes difficult choices easier, and it takes away that malalignment with things that make you feel uneasy.

On the flip side, if your job does not align with these values – get another one. I have worked in an organisation that went against my values, but it paid handsomely, and it is my life’s biggest regret.

If you’re looking to discover your ‘why’ – your true purpose and values as a leader, join us for the upcoming Authentic Leadership Summit in Sydney from the 17-20 March 2020. Back for its 5th year, keynote speakers include, Ita Buttrose, Larry Marshall, Tim Kelsey and Mike Baird to name a few. Early bird pricing is available only until the 14th February 2020 – book now.